So soon after the Spanish Grand Prix’s completion McLaren are unable to diagnose the exact cause of Hamilton’s retirement, which took the team completely by surprise, but with Bridgestone suspecting the tyre was not to blame, they will now send the parts back to their factory to investigate the reasons for the failure.
“I was just nursing the car to the finish line, then I suddenly felt the steering go, and then there was immediately a failure on the left-front corner,” explained Hamilton. “I didn’t sense anything odd before the accident – the car was feeling great – so that’s why it was such a surprise. We don’t know what went wrong, but we’ll take everything back to the McLaren Technology Centre and work to find out.”
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was equally devastated by Hamilton’s retirement, but was confident a solution would be found.
“For Lewis, it was just one of those days,” said Whitmarsh. “He drove brilliantly – an impressively disciplined yet excitingly combative performance – and posted the fastest lap of the race, nearly half a second quicker than the next-best lap, on his way to what would have been a richly deserved second place had he not been forced to retire within spitting distance of the chequered flag.
“We’ll now gather up the parts, take them back to the McLaren Technology Centre, and then analyse them meticulously – so, until we’ve done that, we won’t really be able to make any definitive statements about what we think it was that caused the problem.”
A philosophical Hamilton now remains focused on improving his position in the championship at next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
“I’m absolutely gutted that my accident happened so close to the finish of the race – but that’s motor racing,” he concluded. “There are many more races to go this season, and I’ll keep my chin up. I know we can still fight for this championship.”
He is currently 21 points adrift of championship leader, team mate Jenson Button.